PENIS REVULSION: IT’S UNDERSTANDABLE NOT ‘BIGOTRY’
Content note: This post contains references to internalised misogyny, anti-feminism, anti-lesbianism and a lot of radical lesbian feminist anger
This post is in response to the blogger “stavvers” post (linked below). In a nutshell, it argues that ‘genitals’ don’t, or shouldn’t, matter to anyone.
If only we could magic power and violence away like this, we’d be rid of patriarchy in no time. This is a typical queer approach to male supremacy: “power and control doesn’t exist IF WE SAY IT DOESN’T”
Blog post can be read here: (This is by someone who apparently says they’re a feminist. If you ARE an actual feminist you’ll be angered at how anti-woman the post is):
Let’s start off by laying my cards on the table here. I don’t believe in ‘natural’ anything when it comes to social organisation under male supremacy. Everything in the world is given social and political significance to benefit men, as a class, at the expense of women, as a class. Yes, especially the beloved penis. Penis is at the centre of male supremacy. Symbolically and in reality.
Penis has been used by men as a violent weapon against women for centuries. For centuries, women have been taught that, if they are revulsed by, or afraid of, penis, then there’s something wrong with them. They need therapy or medical intervention or their feelings ignored in favour of men’s ‘innate needs’ (sic). Lesbians have been given ECT, in days gone by, for rejecting men and their penis. It’s an established patriarchal lie that it is women who are at fault if they reject penis. They are ‘unnatural’, selfish, sick or mad.
Interestingly, for one who presents themselves as “intersectionalist”, Stavvers supports a medical model approach in relation to our genitals (see a range of writings by disabled feminist women about social model vs medical model e.g. Jenny Morris https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/hypatia/v016/16.4morris.html ). Stavvers says that the only reason for anyone to be interested in genitals is for ‘medical assistance’ and even that “for the vast majority of us, is never going to be the case.”
So…stavvers has never read, never heard of, or is utterly disinterested in, the body of feminist work which criticises how, under patriarchy, men have appropriated the process of childbirth (e.g.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11251720 ). Women are medicalized, ‘treated’ and generally abused in the name of ‘medicine’ by institutionalized patriarchy – all for having their insignificant genitals and ability to reproduce.
Women who don’t give birth are rarer than those who do (an estimated 25% of the female population in the UK http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/9847642/Helen-Mirren-confronts-the-final-female-taboo.html ). This means that most women experience the unpleasantness of male intervention in relation to their genitals in the name of ‘medical assistance’ (sic) during childbirth. Even het women who don’t have children know the invasiveness of male-designed contraceptive options. This makes a nonsense of her argument that “for the vast majority of us, (‘medical assistance’ for their genitals) is never going to be the case”. Women’s ability to reproduce is controlled and regulated by male supremacy.
Female genitals – who has power over them and how they are characterized under male supremacist rule, especially compared to penis – is a central feminist issue. That stavvers can so misunderstand this point that she reduces it to “essentialist” almost defies belief. In queer land, it is a common, deliberate, manipulation of radical feminism to call the analysis of the connection between reproduction and female oppression “essentialist”.
It comes as no surprise, especially for those of us who’ve been observing the topsy-turvy political world of queer/trans/activists, that pressure for women to endure the penis is on the queer agenda. The slight “left field” is that the pressure comes from a so-called ‘left’ ‘alternative’ discourse (with an appealing revolutionary rhetoric but underpinned by an incredibly conservative agenda). Love the penis else you are a bigot “much of the time, it’s cis (sic) women, who are basically just bigots!” http://stavvers.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/shit-i-cannot-believe-needs-to-be-said-i-dont-dwell-on-your-genitals/#comment-17415
She goes on to reduce the social and political significance of penis as being merely about what can be done sexually – with or without the penis – between 2 people. Queers always reduces feminism to this because they have a politics which is a profoundly conservative form of individualism. As if, under patriarchy, we can all just forget the power structures in place, and focus on isolated sex acts regardless of who they are being done with or to.
Of course, many women know penis in a non-consensual context. We are raped and sexually abused, often numerous times, and know, therefore, that penis equals violent weapon within those personal experiences. But, hey, we’re just “bigots”. Meanwhile, it is acceptable for stavvers that a man rejecting his penis because of “gender dysphoria” is something other than bigotry. “I absolutely can entertain that this ties in with dysphoria!” she says enthusiastically (and then goes on to call “mostly cis (sic) women” bigots for our revulsion for penis). Look out, stavvers, your male-identification is showing.
There’s a bit of lesbophobia slipped in. She says she knows that men think about her ‘cunt’ (sic) all of the time. Now, she’s worried that women too think about it so she doesn’t feel safe in women-only spaces either. Well, well, that sounds familiar as a stereotype, the predatory lesbian seeking out women’s vaginas to prey on. And, yeah totes, you feminist revolutionary you, women think about your genitals all the time. You went from women being concerned about safety from men to a leap about other women being obsessed with your genitals?? WTF??
It is counter to the definition of lesbian that a penis is involved. Many lesbians and radical feminists before me have made that point. I add that it’s ok for any woman, whoever she is, to reject a penis in a world where penis has overwhelming significance as a weapon of power, control and violence. That, dear stavvers, is basic feminism. Whatever you are espousing in your blog post, it’s not feminist. Never will feminism be about calling women ‘bigots’ for rejecting men.
It’s just one argument among multitudes about why women rejecting men is called ‘bigotry’. And so, you might ask, “Why would anyone give this particular blog post any time or effort at all?”. I would have a lot of sympathy for that perspective, I really would except……Unless radical lesbian feminists watch what’s happening and speak our truths, anti-feminists, in the shape of ‘queer liberators’, will successfully re-enforce an age-old conservative agenda: women must accept men – in whatever form or shape male supremacy present itself – or else women are blamed or punished. It’s a position which has kept patriarchy intact for centuries – why would it change now?